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Government and Politics

Lone Ohio Statehouse Republican publicly supports Medicaid expansion
State Representative Barbara Sears discusses her proposed bill, and is targeted by opponents for a primary challenge

Karen Kasler
State Representative Barbara Sears says she is content being the sole sponsor of her proposed bill.
Courtesy of The Ohio House of Representatives
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In The Region:

As lawmakers prepare to come back to the Statehouse after summer break, they’re readying for big discussions on Medicaid.

There are at least four bills dealing with Medicaid reform or expansion.

Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler talked with the only Republican lawmaker who' come out in support of expanding Medicaid to 275,000 low-income Ohioans.

LISTEN: Representative Barbara Sears on Medicaid expansion

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It may seem that Representative Barbara Sears of Sylvania is the only Republican supporting Medicaid expansion, since her bill to do that has no co-sponsors. But she says the decision to have her as the lone sponsor was a leadership decision and is just part of the process.

“There are quite a few number of members that are interested in supporting the legislation, are helping with the conversation of supporting it.”

And Sears says she thinks Gov. John Kasich could use an executive order to expand Medicaid. But she says the governor would have to seek approval for funding lawmakers on the Controlling Board panel.

“But he wouldn’t even need to do that right away. There’s enough underspending going on based on all the successful reforms that we’ve currently done that we can extend out a while.”

Tea Party activists are seeking candidates to challenge Sears in next year’s primary, but she says she’s comfortable with that.

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